Opportunities for mobile apps in a small business

For any business, big or small, to survive in today's marketplace it's essential to keep a pace with marketing developments and consumer trends. The rise of the mobile application goes hand in hand with the rise of the smartphone. People literally eat, live and breathe through their devices these days. Consumers expect your business to be accessible and this means being available 24/7/365 days a year.

But how does the average small business owner achieve this?

A few years ago having a website was the answer but today it's increasingly important to go where your customers go. The best way to do this is to develop a mobile app for your business. That way you can reach out to your customers wherever they are, making your business available to them whenever they need you.

The cost of developing a mobile app

In the past many small businesses shied away from mobile apps because of the cost associated with developing them. However, with the rise of hybrid apps (applications which are compatible across a range of mobile devices - a 'one app fits all' solution) the costs have decreased significantly.

Most web design agencies now offer mobile app development as part of their service proposition. As well as ensuring your app is fully functional and appealing to the eye the developer will work with your brief and design an app to suit your particular business, i.e. if you are a retail business the app should include the option to make purchases.

What your mobile app can do for you

Your mobile app is also a great outlet for marketing campaigns. Vouchers or promo codes can be automatically generated by customers making a purchase or even by just opening the app. If they can make a purchase 'in app' you'll be surprised by just how successful these campaigns can be.

Mobile apps also support direct messaging, these are push notifications and user specific messages. Customers must opt in to receive them but if they do they provide a great opportunity for targeted marketing. They can be notified instantly whenever there are special offers or promotions running and, as some apps can recognise where a customer is, you can personalise them too.

Many businesses mitigate the cost of developing an app by offering it free to download with the expectation of a return on their investment through engagement with their app.

Making your business accessible, and by that we mean not just having an app but keeping it updated with your latest products and special offers, will pay dividends in the long run. Mobile technology is here to stay so ensure your business stays too by embracing this exciting new sales outlet.

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